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Diverse Art

Education major’s project takes inclusive approach to the past 

It was during class discussions while taking a course at Bridgewater State University with Dr. Jacquelynne Boivin, that Brienna Notaro, ’24, recognized that despite defining herself as anti-racist, she actually did harbor some biases.   

“I’m always working toward bettering myself, so it hurt and, to be honest, was a little embarrassing,” Brienna said.   

Dr. Boivin, professor of elementary and early childhood education, assured her there was nothing to be embarrassed about as it was clear Brienna was determined to become more aware, including how art is taught in most classrooms and the glaring lack of diversity.   

“I’m studying secondary education and studio arts,” Brienna said. “And we talked a lot about art, and I started to realize that I wasn’t being taught about many artists of color.”  

That’s when Dr. Boivin encouraged her to develop a project on the topic and apply for BSU’s Adrian Tinsley Program (ATP) for Undergraduate Research and Creative Work Summer Grants.  

“I’ve always had a passion for education and social change and wanted to be an advocate for people, so I came up with this project to design an art and art history curriculum for middle and high school students that includes a more diverse groups of artists,” Brienna said.     

Her project was greenlit for the ATP program and this summer the rising senior has been researching and creating a website geared toward anti-racist education to help art teachers diversify their classrooms.   

The website consists of a homepage that connects to other pages filled with resources. Digital artwork is included, as well as literature, lesson plans, templates, and ideas for museum work.   

She also highlights the work of black, LGBTQ+, and disabled artists.  

“It is all easily accessible, the language casual. I wanted it to be approachable to make it easy for teachers to feel comfortable integrating this work into their classrooms,” Brienna said.   

She hopes her efforts will bring about positive change.   

“There are a lot of really interesting artists out there who have never gotten the spotlight, artists we have never learned about and it’s so important that they are recognized as part of our history,” Brienna said.   

By participating in the ATP program, Brienna has not only fine-tuned her lesson-planning skills, but also gained insight as to the type of teacher she hopes to be when eventually stepping into the classroom to teach her own students after graduating from BSU next spring.  

“I’ve gained information to be a better teacher for students of all backgrounds and am learning to be culturally responsive,” she said. “This has been an awesome opportunity to explore and work on something I’m so passionate about.”  

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